Do you suck at goal setting? Probably not – in fact, you’re probably a world champion goal setter. Now, the real question is …
…DO YOU SUCK AT REACHING THOSE GOALS?
Let’s face it, you’ve probably got a long history of setting goals, and missing more than you hit. Maybe you’ve even told yourself that it’s OK because without any goals at all you wouldn’t have gotten as far as you have. But if that’s the truth why do you feel so bad every time it’s a miss? Why do you beat yourself up, wonder what’s wrong with you, tell yourself that you’re lazy, unfocused, blame it on your ADHD and start to believe that goals work for EVERYONE but you? Want to know why? Because traditional goal setting doesn’t work for entrepreneurs.
WHY TRADITIONAL GOAL SETTING DOESN’T WORK FOR ENTREPRENEURS
Let’s face it, you’re an entrepreneur and goal setting just doesn’t work for big picture thinkers.
Think about it. When did making lists ever work for you? Grocery lists, to do lists, lists of things I have to pack for my vacation … does this even sound normal you?
Read more: Why Setting Goals Can Do More Harm Than Good
DOES SETTING GOALS MAKE YOU FEEL ANXIOUS?
If there was ever a system designed to make you feel like a failure, it’s the left-brained approach to goal setting. Here’s a funny thing, as I was pulling together the pieces of my own “goal setting” program, Wake Up! It’s Monday, I realized that I was creating a program just like all the rest – S.M.A.R.T. goals, time management/productivity tips, tools for keeping on track, and I was feeling more and more like a fraud. You see, I’m as entrepreneurial as the next person and I knew none of these things had worked for me. But somewhere in by brain, I thought “well that’s me, it’s probably not anyone else”. I didn’t pay attention to what my gut was telling me, which was that the conventional process is a load of crap.
IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S THE PROCESS
Once I opened myself up to hear what my inner voice was telling me, I suddenly felt empowered. I finally realized (and could admit to myself) that it wasn’t me, it was the conventional processes that were all wrong. In fact, I was using the process to beat myself up. I started to research WHO were all these gurus of goal setting? What is their background? Who is coming up with all these “techniques” that are driving me insane, and you know what I found out? They are all left brain corporate/process people. Sure enough, they’re people who naturally follow a linear train of thought, and that’s why it works for them.
FOR ENTREPRENEURS LIKE US, IT’S A BIG-PICTURE PROCESS
So, back to my own entrepreneurial right brain BFO (blinding flash of the obvious). GOALS DON’T WORK
As I was writing my goal setting program for my clients, a little voice in the back of my head kept saying, Angela, you know that’s not going to work that way. Why? Because I was focusing on all that stuff – time management, S.M.A.R.T. goals, prioritizing – all that stuff that didn’t work for me. But it seemed like such a good idea because I thought it worked for everyone else.
We are not left-brain thinkers! Turns out it didn’t work for everyone else either. I had to rewrite the whole Wake Up! It’s Monday program in a more authentic way because I knew that the traditional way just wasn’t going to work. I knew I had to break the mold. I had to do my own reality check and ask myself why goal setting hasn’t worked for me. Here’s what I discovered…
TOO . MANY . DISTRACTIONS.
Let’s call it “unfinished business”. Messy desk, messy money, messy life… any wonder your thoughts jump from one mess to another. Trying to stick band-aids on each new crack, while you’re setting and trying to achieve your goals? When your eyes get distracted and your brain is full of thoughts it’s impossible to focus on any goal. And it becomes exhausting trying to stick to the plan. Exhausted brains can’t focus. Time for your own reality check to find out what’s really in your way.
TOO . MANY . SHOULD’S
You know what it’s like – one thought leads to another, to another and to another. Suddenly you feel defeated before the day even gets started. It’s the “not talent police” – the guys that whisper in your ear, you know you should, but you can’t. Or they murmur “you’re not good enough”. Or even, everyone else gets it – what’s wrong with you?
On my own goal setting journey, I discovered a wonderful tool by Julia Cameron called Morning Pages for getting all that stuff that chatters, rolls round and around in your head up and out before you get your day started. Three pages of stream of consciousness – no more. It worked so well for me that now I encourage all my clients to write their own Morning Pages. Once you quiet the shoulda’, coulda’, oughta’s it’s amazing what happens in the quiet space. I prefer to use a notebook and write by hand (it’s more effective), but here’s a free online journal you can use too.
So, what about those conflicting goals, eh? The ones on that huge list of things you have to do, and then the things you want to do show up, you have some conflicting goals to deal with so you either try to do everything, or your brain short circuits and do nothing. Better you should step back and ask yourself why it’s important to you than to fly into a frenzy of hyperactivity trying to make everything a #1 priority. Funny how often that one little “why” word leads to the answer “it’s not really that important”.
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN FOR SUCCESS
Amazing thing, the brain. If you’ve spent years (OK, probably decades) failing to accomplish your goals, then your brain has learned that this is the norm and it won’t do a darn thing to change that – until you retrain it by setting small, even minute, goals and reaching them. Just as failure breeds failure, success breeds success. Build on the small things until your brain understands that your aim isn’t to set goals, it’s to reach them.
GET OFF THE FAILURE ROLLER COASTER
Can I help? I’ve designed an online 8 week program called Wake Up! It’s Monday especially for big picture, right brain, entrepreneurial thinkers. If you want to break the cycle of too many “to do’s”, or just plain overwhelm, this is a great place to stop. You’ll discover what makes you special, and what get in your way so that you can – and will – get more things done without stress. Check out the start date for the next group here.